As far as I recall, it was my first time in Switzerland. I’ve been a couple of times in the Alpes, near the Lac Léman, but always from the French side. This time, I’ve switched border and took a trip to Geneva with my travel buddy, Mr Penguin.
Arriving at Geneva
We arrived during the evening, the night was already here. After I’ve put my stuff at the hotel, I’ve started to explore the neighborhood (and searching for a place to eat BTW). This is the moment when I’ve discovered how this city is beautiful by night with the various lights reflecting from the lake’s surface.
The illuminated building is le Phare des Pâquis, built at first in 1857, then rebuilt in 1894 in a larger version. A day picture is available later.
Back in the place by day, the first monument I’ve seen was the Brunswick Monument. This mausoleum is dedicated to Charles II de Brunswick who bequeathed his fortune to the city at the condition to have “beautiful funerals and a monument named after him”. As requested by the Duke, the monument is replicated from the Scaliger Tombs in Verona. The Gothic architecture is a nice contrast with the rest of the Jardin des Alpes. The monument is guarded by two lions.
The sun was still low, the reflection on the water was beautiful. But, if you know Geneva, you may see something missing… The famous Jet d’Eau ! I was starting to get worried that it would be shutdown during the Winter or something else.
This sub-bridge is below le Pont du Mont Blanc, connecting the two main roads of the city. These pedestrian sub bridges are very useful to cross it without being annoyed by the car trafic.
L’île Rousseau, previously named Île aux Banques is a small park with a statue of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, writer, philosopher, and composer from Geneva. A statue is dedicated to him.
I didn’t noticed it at first time, but the trees are decorated with lights. As we are in Winter, the scenery can feel a little gloomy, but…
… When the night comes, the lightning is beautiful.
Le Jardin Anglais
On the other side of le Pont du Mont Blanc, we have le Jardin anglais. The most noticeable feature of this place is l’Horloge fleurie, an actual clock on the ground, decorated with flowers.
Oh ! Finally they started le Jet d’Eau !
Le Jet d’Eau
Le Jet d’Eau de Genève is one of the most famous city’s attractions. Historically, the first jet d’eau was built in 1886 to evacuate the over pressure of the Coulouvrenière hydraulic station used to feed the city with water and using the water power for the industry. Because the needs were fewer during the night, the over pressure had to be evacuated. Which conducted to the first jet d’eau, 30 meters high.
In 1891, the city of Geneva decided to recreate le jet d’eau in the Eau-Vives neighborhood more as a touristic attraction than an actual infrastructure equipment. The new water jet could attain 90 meters. It was also able to switch colors thanks to a specific lighting.
The current version of le Jet d’Eau sends the water to an average height of 140 meters at 200km/h, pumping 500 liters per second using two 1 000kW pumps able to throw 250 liters each. It’s an average mass of 8 tons of water which is sent to the air. It cannot throw the water higher because of its location.
The pump’s exit.
You can see at the and the rainbow forming itself, very beautiful.
This is the reason why le Jet d’Eau cannot be more powerful. When the wind is blowing, the city would be splashed. It takes 16 seconds for the water drops to completely get down.
The Roastead and the lake
Some pictures of Geneva’s roastead.
An artist-friendly city
In the Natural History Museum, you can take a picture of yourself with a T-Rex head.
The Hans Wilsdorf bridge, named after the founder of the Rolex brand, a road bridge funded and built in 2012 by the Rolex Foundation with the agreement of the City of Geneva. The most interesting thing about its construction is that its tubular frame supports the whole mass of the bridge. There is no support under it. It’s beautiful and very ingenious.
Various technical boxes in the city are decorated with historical pictures.
La Promenade de la Treille
La Porte de la Treille, an access to la promenade de la Treille, an elevated park where you can have a great point of view of the city.
La promenade de la Treille claims to have the longest wooden bench of the world, 120 meters long.
Below la promenade de la Treille is the Parc des Bastions, where you can look at le Mur des Réformateurs, a wall dedicated to the Protestant Reformation of the Christianity. Geneva is one of the major cities where the reformation was developed.
Les canons, near the City Hall, with nice mosaics behind.
St Pierre Cathedral, a former Roman Catholic cathedral converted into a Protestant Church. It’s most noticeable architecture detail I’ve found interesting is the portico reminding me the ancient Greek era’s style.
A view from the place of the former Geneva’s astronomical observatory.
The City by night
Geneva is nicely illuminated by night, but the light pollution is not that much too. The city takes care of its biodiversity and several illuminated areas before have been shutdown since.
Le Zombie, a statue reminding the Frankenstein’s creature. Mary Shelley’s novel is mainly set in Geneva. Despite not being especially dedicated to the famous monster, this statue is incredibly detailed and pretty disturbing by night when you’re next to it.
One curiosity I liked, a building observing.
In this period, it was the fair in Painpalais. I took the opportunity to make some long exposure night shots with the attractions.
La Tour de l’Île, a tower of a former castle built upon this small island on the Rhône, it’s the only remain of the building. The clock has been installed in the XVI Century.
I liked this building lighting.
It was the full moon, and the sky was pretty clear, a great opportunity.
The Moynier Park
The Cyanometer, an artwork by Martin Briceli Baraga which is also an actual cyanometer measuring the sky’s blueness. This machine is powered by a Raspberry Pi using an open-source software that collects images of the sky.
The sky was clearing a little, the colors were beautiful.
Le Conservatoire et jardin botanique de Genève
Here we arrived to the Botanic Garden, with some greenhouses exposed.
Despite being in Winter, the garden is very nice.
And here is one of the tropical greenhouse. Actually, le Conservatoire et Jardin Botanique de Genève is an open museum and institution dedicated to the flora preservation.
This is one of the main greenhouse available in this area. The inside is very rich and hosts a lot of different plants.
The Botanic Garden is near another important Geneva’s location.
The Palace of the United Nations
Geneva is a citiy that hosts a great number of International Organizations : United Nations, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), International Committee of the Red Cross, International Labour Organization, International Standardization Organisation, etc.
In front of the Palace of the United Nations is exposed another famous Geneva’s artwork : the Broken Chair. Created by Daniel Berset, installed in 1997, it’s a 12 meters wooden sculpture displaying a chair with a broken foot. It symbolize the contestation against land mines and cluster weapons. The artwork was an order of Handicap International and is now its property since 2004 after Berset transferred the ownership to the organization.
The Palace of Nations location is also decorated with these panels displaying the Earth.
Another peace dedicated artwork representing a twisted cannon, displayed at the opposite side of the Palace of Nations.
The CERN, for Centre Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, is an intergovernmental organization installed in Meyrin, neighboring Geneva, close to the French border. Technically, as an international organization, the CERN’s territory is neither Swiss or French. It’s a small city where the scientists of the world can live for a small time with hotel, restaurant and shops. The CERN is a physics institute well-known for its particle accelerators, especially the Large Hadron Collider which is the world largest and highest-energy particle collider, a 27 kilometers underground circle geographically shared between Switzerland and France.
The CERN detains several scientific achievements, like creating antihydrogen particles, and more recently the discovery of the Higgs boson. Also in computer science, the CERN is known for being the birth place of the World Wide Web, created in 1989-1990 by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Caillau.
The Synchro-Cyclotron, the first CERN particle accelerator built with the facility. Today, this facility is retired and serves as an exhibit for the guided tours. A great animation is proposed by light effects projection on the structure to explain the principle.
Le quartier des Schtroumpfs
This area in Geneva is located in le quartier des grottes. A couple of building with a very specific architecture and colors nicknamed “les Schtroumpfs”.
Various city pictures
Geneva’s public transports are pretty well developed. One good thing to know : when you take an hotel room in the city, they provide you a free public transport card available for the duration of your visit. It’s available for the tramways, bus, boats, and trains. Don’t forget to ask it to your hotel !
This building is a former hydraulic installation, converted into a function hall.
Something I really liked in this city, the various architectures mixed with each others.
These two rocks are les pierres du Niton et du Dyolin. These rocks are two glacial erratics in the Lac Léman. They were historically used as a reference for measuring the city’s altitude.
This place is also for the Winter swimmers who like to do some meters in the cold lake water.
Geneva is surrounded by Mountains : Jura in a side, Alpes in another one.